Need help choosing a dog breed

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by ross_hy, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. ross_hy

    ross_hy Active Member

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    I'm finally in a good position to get a dog, but I need some help in picking the right breed. Here are a few qualifiers:

    -Needs to be OK in the house while I'm at work [I live in a townhouse, only have a small back patio]
    -Needs to be OK with my allergies [My Jack Russell used to make my nose run constantly]
    -Should probably be a smaller breed but not a toy/purse type dog

    The ones I've been considering are schnauzers and a couple of terriers [soft-coated wheaten and westies]. Those three are on lists I've seen about being good for apartment-style life and for people with allergies.

    Thanks for the help! And apologies if there's already a thread about this somewhere, the board won't let me search.
     
  2. Kasey

    Kasey Loving on babies!

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    I know that Maltese are good for people with allergies, but may be a bit too small for you. Good luck in getting one that will work for you.
     
  3. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't go with any type of terrier unless you have some space or have the time to really get them out and about. Terriers have a lot of energy, which you probably know since you had a Jack Russell (now known as the Parson Russell Terrier), and they need to get out.

    Any kind of poodle mix (cockapoo, labradoodle (as long as it's 2nd generation or more) would be good as far as allergies are concerned. Lagottos are about 30 pounds and also good for those with allergies. Wheatens (also terriers) can get bigger than the breed standard, and often are.

    I know you'll probably laugh, but I really think Xolos are some of the best dogs out there, and they do come in a coated (versus hairless version). Read about them: http://www.terrificpets.com/dog_breeds/Xoloitzcuintli.asp

    I'll be excited to hear what you decide! And photos are always most welcome :)

    O-
     
  4. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    How many hours do you spend at work in an average day?

    How much time will you be able to spend playing with and exercising the dog when you aren't at work?

    I think those are critical questions, because there are a lot of differences in vigor and energy in dogs. If you get a young, high-energy dog like a terrier and leave it home alone all day, the dog will likely exercise itself by tearing up your house. And even with that, you will need to spend a lot of time working with a dog like that--they require a lot of play and running. If you are gone a lot, I'd recommend looking for a mid-to low level energy dog. You won't spend hours throwing a ball for a dog like that (well, you can, but it won't take the dog long to start looking at you like "Really?") but you will still get some play and a lot of companionship.

    This may help: http://www.selectsmart.com/DOG/

    This book http://books.google.com/books/about/Right_Dog_For_You.html?id=9SZ0slk2EOsC, while it is a little out of date, is a good resource. It was written by a vet who specialized in dog care and he discusses the issues of vigor and energy specifically, as well as many other things like grooming time and temperament. He also warns you to never trust the AKC or like groups and their descriptions of dog breeds, which he considers way too idealistic.
     
  5. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Poodles are good for allergies and are super smart.
     
  6. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I never considered myself a small-dog person, but my mom fell in love with two puppies that were "cavachons" -- a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon. They were brother/sister and she couldn't take the male. So she took the female and asked me if I wanted a puppy for Chanukah.

    Both of our puppies have great traits. They are very smart, energetic and playful, but not hyper like I've found terriers to be. They are bigger than toy size, so I don't think I have an overgrown rat. They also are very affectionate and loving. I am not 100% clear on whether their fur is hypoallergenic; some people say it is and others say it isn't, but it is less likely to trigger allergies than other dogs' fur.
     
  7. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to be away for seven-nine hours per day, five days a week, I'd advise you to get an older dog or use a doggy day care service or have a dog walker come in mid-day. If you are going to give the pup an hour of play/time/training before you go to work and an hour after, maybe you could get away with it. But even a small-breed puppy needs attention (lots!), companionship and play.

    Even with an older dog, someone working that much would have to have a real commitment to getting the dog out in the morning and getting home right after work to get it out again. Seven-nine hours is a long time for a dog to be alone.

    I agree that the poodle is a great choice for the allergies, it is the only dog I know to be hypo-allergenic, although there must be some others. You could get a small one, but not a toy. However, poodles tend to be smart dogs - the standard for sure, not certain about the smaller ones - and smart dogs are more likely to get bored and get into trouble.

    The Westie is a great little dog, but high energy as a terrier. I don't know about the King Cavalier, they are known to be gentle.

    The Pekingese might be an option, if you like how they look and the allergies aren't an issue. They were bred to be decorative and aren't too demanding in terms of attention.

    My neighbours have a Pekingese and a Shi Tsu, and the dogs exercise themselves weary racing around the back yard together, which they have access to at all times. Getting two is a good idea if you will be away a lot. But I don't know how well two such dogs would do kept a long time indoors.
     
  8. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Westies are great little dogs. A friend of mine breeds Scotties who I also think are great dogs. She recently had a Scottie and Westie day at her place where I got to meet lots of Westies.

    Not sure about Poodles. Every poodle I have met has been a temperamental little sh*t.
     
  9. Jenya

    Jenya Well-Known Member

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    I'm allergic to dogs as well and my family has had three Bichons over the years. The smallest one we had was only 6 pounds or so, but I think an average size for the breed is a little bigger. In my experience, they aren't the smartest breed, but ours were all very easygoing and incredibly sweet. I had a Bichon while living in an apartment by myself and had no problems - in my experience, they don't need a lot of exercise, are relatively quiet, and can be fairly low-energy. The best part about Bichons, in my opinion, is that they have great personalities and love people. My Bichon's favorite activity was sleeping on my lap. :)
     
  10. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    This. I devote a big chunk of my non-work time to my dog. If you can afford a dogwalker or doggie daycare you can have more flexibility I guess but having a dog if you live alone means the dog is your life.

    Of course that's the way I like it.

    I adopt middle aged dogs because they can deal with their person being away during the day. Puppies can't.

    I don't know anything about smaller dogs so I don't know if they require less exercise but even so they need the stimulation of time spent with their person.
     
  11. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

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    I have a Schnauzer/Poodle mix and they are great dogs that meet most of your criteria. However, I use a doggy daycare if I'm going to be out longer than 4 hours at a time (I work partially from home, so that helps). I've never left my dog by herself for a full 8 hr work day, so I don't know how she would handle it. I also have a friend with a Havanese that also seems like it would be a good fit.
     
  12. ross_hy

    ross_hy Active Member

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    I spend 8-9 hours a day at work, but I come home for lunch nearly every day (it's less than 10 minutes away). I don't really go anywhere, so I would have plenty of time to devote to him/her.

    I've considered the more "designer" breeds, but I really want to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, so it's been hard to find. Some of these groups aren't very good about getting back with me, and some won't consider somebody who doesn't have a yard.
     
  13. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    I have two Standard Poodles (they are most assuredly not tempermental---the toys tend to be). They are energetic and when puppies, they were crated about 6 hours/day. No more. As adults they do fine while I'm at work, but that is still no more than 7 hours at the max. I also had an Akita that while a very large dog, is also a very low-key dog. She was fine with my being gone and a good long walk when I returned, but even then I wasn't gone for 9 hours which is not uncommon if you work an 8 hour day and allow for travel time. No puppy, regardless of breed, can be left alone that long and not have problems. Housebreaking alone will be a real issue. I actually stayed home with all my dogs when they were puppies for at least two weeks. I planned my vacation around them and dealt with breeders so I knew when the pups would be ready. This is a critical time in a pup's bonding and housebreaking. I then gradually increased the time at work until they were 3 months old and could be crated for 6 hours. I'm fortunate with my job that I could do this or I would not have got the dogs.

    Do plan before your get a dog. It's excellent that you are thinking ahead. Look into doggie daycares if there are any nearby, but make certain to check them out and that ALL dogs are required to be fully vacinated. I don't use them because of this, nor do I take my dogs to a dog park. My vet and I are in agreement about vaccines which can be as bad as the dz (we do titers on the dogs before giving boosters), but the only way to reduce vaccine exposure is to reduce exposure to other dogs. So, do your homework. Ask questions. And enjoy your pup. There is nothing like a dog. :D

    And, most rescue groups will not let you have a dog if you don't have a fenced yard. Keep in mind, many dogs from rescue groups or even shelters will need extra care and attention due to heatlh or behavioral issues. That's not to say they won't make good companions, but you have to be prepared for the unexpected. You will know more about the dog's potential health issues if you know the parent's history. And, lastly, be prepared for the expense. Dogs are expensive. If you can't afford quality nutrition and the inevitable vet expenses, don't get one. It's not fair to you or the dog. You really have to factor this into your decision. I would strongly advise against a so-called designer breed. Most of those dogs come from puppy mills and from people with little understanding of genetics or the breeds they are mixing. Many dogs that end up in shelters or even breed rescues came from exactly this background and have the inherent problems to show for it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  14. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

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    I have and love Cavalier Spaniels. Most people on this board already know that :lol:. with your allergies, I would not recommend one. They shed, a lot! But, they are mixing Cavaliers with Poodles - Cavapoos. http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/cavapoo.htm They have more of a poodle look, curly, non-shedding hair. And they usually don't have the standard Cavalier head - large, wide set eyes, shortened nose. But they are very cute and usually do have a Cavalier personality. Very calm, very loving. They weigh up to 20 pounds.

    I understand you want to adopt, but do not feel bad if you go to a breeder. Yes, saving a dog is a wonderful thing. But, buying from a breeder you will have more information about your dog. A lot of rescue dogs are from puppy mills and inexperience breeders. You have a higher risk of getting a dog with problems. My daughter rescued a pure bred (backyard bred) English Cocker. It is a beautiful dog, but he is a maniac! He is 1 1/2 and still chewing/eating everything in sight - shoes, clothing, underwear, paper. He is not as house broken as he should be at his age. He barks constantly. I love him, but he is exhausting!
     
  15. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Don't bother with breed rescue groups. They believe their dogs are of vastly more value than you, the lowly human being. Shelters are best; all breed rescue groups can be good. I live in a neighborhood with lots of dogs in apartments and a lot of them are rescue dogs so dogs are adopted to people without yards.
     
  16. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    My parents have had two very good experiences with Michigan's springer spaniel rescue, so I wouldn't paint all breed rescues with the same brush.

    OTH, I have had two experiences with all-breed (non-humane society) rescues and both were unknowledgeable about the dogs they adopted out. One had some pretty severe health problems (who with our time and $$$ lived to a ripe, happy old age) and the other probably should have never been adopted out without serious breed instruction (our neurotic German Shepherd - fortunately, I am an experienced enough dog owner to realize I had no clue as to what I had on my hands and sought help to make sure I did the right things to make her a reasonably well-adjusted dog).

    Humane societies (at least the one I volunteer with) at least have more expert knowledge and possibly time with their animals to be able to properly counsel people on the dog they are adopting.

    Re breeders (and I have owned two breeder dogs), there are good ones and not so good ones. Research is the key.

    ETA - we don't have a fenced yard, and have never had a problem adopting with rescues or the Humane Society (or the breeder, for that matter).
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  17. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

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    I have a cutie precious maltese and he's fairly smart and has not bothered my allergies. I spent more than many hours at the lab at times(esp lately:(), even not making home sometimes, but he's been doing just fine. (Any dogs would be fine as long as you make sure they get properly hydrated and fed:))

    He's now 5-year-old, and you should also know that I took him in when I had a lot of time to be with him at home(first two years, I think).
     
  18. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

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    This is excellent advice!
     
  19. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

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    My stepmom has a long haired Chihuahua named Dixie. She's loving and very smart. She'll let you know when she needs to go out. She'll also let you know when someone has arrived to visit. I have some allergies, and she's never bothered them even with her long hair. She also does very well if you have to leave for work or run to do errands. :)
     
  20. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    Wrong! Pekingese were bred exclusively to be COMPANION dogs and, thus, require a load of attention and companionship. Likewise regarding Pugs. No dog is or was bred to be decorative unless it is made of porcelain.

    O-
     
  21. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

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    Cavs are companion dogs too, but they tolerate being alone well. They just act like you've been gone for years when you come home :lol:. And some Cavs are porcelain, the Staffordshire dogs are Cavs. :lol:
     
  22. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I guess my coddling of my Pekes and Pugs has led to my own dog issues :lol: (Perhaps my companions require more companionship than the average companion dog ;))

    O-
    P.S. I think Cavs are THE most gorgeous dog breed. Never had one, but it's good I don't. I would never leave home.
     
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

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    They are gorgeous. And they are as sweet as they are beautiful. I think you should coddle your Pekes and Pugs, they deserve it! :) Dogs give us so much more than we can ever give them. We can take care of them, we can cuddle and love them. But, the joy and comfort they give us is enormous. I went through a rough time a few years ago. Lost my Dad and my Mom fairly close together. Cooper kissed away my tears. Enjoy your babies and let them require you, you love it too. My current Cav is so spoiled! My first two had to share me with babies and kids. This one, we got when the kids were in college. So, he has been coddled and babied from day one. He is a mama's boy!
     
  24. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Portuguese water dogs are, like poodles and bichons, hypoallergenic. Not inexpensive, and may need more exercise than you'd be able to provide, but just wanted to toss it out there. Agree with those that thorough research is really important, especially with breeders. Breeders can be wonderful, or they can just be in it for the money and either know little or treat their mommy dogs like crap.

    Good luck!!
     
  25. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I would be very. very careful about Cavalier King Charles/mixes of that breed--they do have a hereditary heart problem that can turn up and I wouldn't trust a cross-breeder to breed that out. And for heaven's sake please don't encourage the backyard breeders of maltiepeekacockapoodleschorkiedoos and other designer dogs. There are some labradoodle breeders who have stopped outcrossing and are producing for consistency but most other 'designer' breeds are a complete crapshoot with no guarantee what the dog will turn out-basically they figured out a way to charge people $500+ for mutts.

    And remember it's not the hair that causes allergies, it's the dander, and pretty much all of them have it. Some breeds are just easier to control. I would NOT consider any terrier breed if they're not going to get a lot of attention as they are all high-energy (especially Westies) and can get destructive left alone. Or at least go with a breeder/breed rescue that has a good read on the dog to know if they can handle being alone. Shelters are great (I got my corgi from the county shelter) but remember most don't know a lot about the dog and unlike a private rescue returns are a lot harder. (How difficult a rescue is about adoptions really depends on the rescue--the one I volunteer with basically wants to make sure you're not going to chain it to a tree and hit it with a stick twice daily as "care"; some are harder than adopting from China.)

    And a good breeder will always take a dog back if it doesn't work, so that would probably be your absolute best bet. Even with the best planning you could end up with a Dork. He's the white shepherd puppy who came back to my brother's riding coach (her female had four pups, three she sold, Dork came back when his owners divorced but he's also the..."special" child. So far he's eaten a frisbee, a dish, and part of his plastic doghouse, and helped his brother become a kennel escape artist. He means well, but he's not very bright and he was probably a really lousy house dog.)
     
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  26. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    I beg you to not choose a dog by the breed and instead visit your local shelter and see if there's a nice dog that fits your lifestyle, whether it's a breed or a mutt. The AKC and its emphasis on breeds has a large role in the fact that 10,000 dogs are killed in shelters every day.

    Where do you live? I may be able to recommend some good shelters.
     
  27. beepbeep

    beepbeep Resident Rude Brazilian

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    I had an apricot poodle toy for 13 years.
    She didn't shed, was incredibly intelligent and very sweet and easy going.
    She could also be a true energetic hurricane around the house at times. She also had some loose bolts in her head (part of the reason I loved her :))
    I miss her...

    I heard Corgis are rather good dogs for your profile, but I got that description from one of those "breed all about it" on animal planet, and just I don't know how accurate that show is.

    And if you end up buying a puppy, please make sure to visit the breeder and see the conditions of the place and of the other dogs in person.
     
  28. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    The OP already said they want to adopt from a shelter or rescue group. Even when you go to a shelter, you still are confronted with considering different breeds. Sure most of the dogs are mixes but what breeds may be in a particular dog's mix is something to consider when choosing the dog that you'll be best suited to.
     
  29. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    About 75% of shelter dogs are mutts. If you're focused on having any breed, you're already ruling out most shelter dogs. If you're focused on one specific breed, then you're overlooking many fantastic dogs.
     
  30. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that any one rule applies. I have heard horror stories from loving, wonderful folks who adopted from shelters. I have heard horror stories from folks who adopted from breeders as well (though not as many). There is a huge difference between reputable breeders and backyard breeder, who are the root of all evil, IMHO, when it comes to canine overpopulation. I am referring to reputable breeders who work to improve the health and disposition of the breed and whose primary goal is to better the breed.

    One of my pugs was fostered by a woman who lived about an hour away from me. I found him online. It was a total crap shoot. I took him, and he is a GEM. Perfect, gorgeous, healthy, silly, and wonderful.

    LUCK. That's about the best thing you can wish for when looking for any dog. Luck and true commitment to their training and socialization process. And love and attention help too!

    NEVER buy a dog from a pet store. That's about the one absolute I would plead no matter what.

    O-